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Batgirl
02-24-2011, 08:22 PM
Hi, I'm looking to find out a little more about unschooling. I've read John Gatto, Alfie Kohn, and should probably tackle some John Holt. I'm also looking through the Unschooling Handbook. Does anyone have any other reading suggestions or know of any forums particularly amenable to questions or thoughtful discussions on this topic?

Thanks!

farrarwilliams
02-24-2011, 10:09 PM
Honestly, reading discussions on unschooling groups was one of the main things that turned me off it, so proceed with caution.

The Unschooling Handbook is ten years old so all the resources in it feel out of date. It also seems to either predate or be blissfully unaware of the whole radical unschooling movement, so just know that.

There are a number of good unschooling blogs though... I feel like I don't read that many of them, but I do like Strewing: Unschooling Resources (be warned, it's a pretty Catholic blog). And there's The Sparkling Martins, which is Dayna Martin's blog (she's the author of a book about radical unschooling). There's another one that I used to read a lot... and now I can't seem to find it in my reader... I must have taken it out for some reason. Huh. Anyway, I know there are a lot more, so that's one way to delve into the unschooling world.

Melissa541
02-24-2011, 10:41 PM
http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/

http://sandradodd.com/unschooling

http://zombieprincess.blogspot.com/

http://thenewunschooler.blogspot.com/

I also read a lot at the Yahoo group Unschooling Basics, but they're RADICAL unschoolers & do not mince words. When I first started reading there, I thought they were a bunch of jerks. :)

Batgirl
02-25-2011, 01:15 AM
Thank you both. Farrar, thanks so much for the warnings. Melissa, thanks for the links. Ronnie of Zombieprincess lives very close to me.

alexdk
02-25-2011, 11:15 AM
I have been interested in unschooling over the years, but some parts just don't seem to fit with us.

Anyway, I enjoyed the few posts that a particular unschool blogger wrote just for me ;)
I had asked her what her top five advice would be for a wanna-be unschooler. She answered with posts on her blog:

Advice for a wanna-be unschooler part 1 (http://freeplaylife.com/?p=2701)

part 2 (http://freeplaylife.com/?p=2707)

part 3 (http://freeplaylife.com/?p=2831)

She hasn't written the rest yet, but has many great posts about unschooling and funschooling. Even if we are not technically unschooling, I still walk away with great ideas and advice from reading her blog.

dbmamaz
02-25-2011, 11:28 AM
Alex, thats a nice website. She manages to talk in glowing terms about the way she and her kids unschool but still express respect for the fact that some people might prefer other ways than hers. My radical unschooler 'freind' once told me I'm really more 'relaxed' than I think I am. She drives me totally nuts because, IMO, she unparents and is just as rude to her kids as she is to me. She also is really rude any time anyone mentions curriculum. So she gave me a really bad feeling about radical unschooling.

But I still think that I have some of it in my core approach - i think I am able to hear my kids when they say what they want, and meet (most of their) educational needs. My 14 yo is like I was - he needs an external schedule and likes life to be predictable. I give my younger one more unstructured time, and he watched khan academy videos for fun.

Sometimes people seem to think that if you arent playing with mudpies every day, you arent unschooling - but my kids NEVER liekd mudpies, only like the woods if we go very infrequently, have no interest in farm animals . . . they like books and numbers. So thats what we do.

oh, sorry to go off again . . .

alexdk
02-25-2011, 03:21 PM
Cara: I understand what you are saying, especially about the unparenting part. I agree with respecting my children and listening to their wants and desires, but I still parent them. I am still their mother, not their best friend ;)
I have seen "unschooling" families that seem to be completely hands-off when it comes to parenting. I have a difficult time seeing the benefits of that. But I guess everyone is different.

My son is like your 14yr old, he needs structure and a schedule, even if it's just a loose idea of what needs to be done in a day.

PaganHSMama
02-25-2011, 03:31 PM
Honestly, reading discussions on unschooling groups was one of the main things that turned me off it, so proceed with caution.


I wholeheartedly agree with this statement! I have been interested in unschooling for about a year, so began looking for resources. I signed up for many of the unschooling groups on Yahoo and after a few months was completely turned off to the idea. While I do agree with many aspects of unschooling, we do not "fit in" with the concept of RADICAL unschooling and that is what most of these groups focus on. I do, however, follow many unschooling blogs and have friended several of the more open-minded unschoolers on Facebook. I am truly learning a lot from them. I find it a bit ironic, though, that a group that seems to shun rules has SO MANY rules for what constitutes unschooling!

PaganHSMama
02-25-2011, 03:39 PM
I agree with respecting my children and listening to their wants and desires, but I still parent them. I am still their mother, not their best friend ;)
I have seen "unschooling" families that seem to be completely hands-off when it comes to parenting. I have a difficult time seeing the benefits of that. But I guess everyone is different.


Exactly! This is the main reason we do not "fit in" with radical unschoolers. I really feel that unschooling should apply to the "school" part, not the parenting part, of our relationships with our kids.

Batgirl
02-25-2011, 09:31 PM
Hmmmm, I don't think we'd fit in with radical unschooling folks, either. I am very attracted to what I read about the idea, but start getting very uneasy when I look at sites for unschooling conventions.There just seems to be so much baggage that goes along with it, like unparenting, for example. Kind of like attachment parenting, I practised the techniques, but met so many people for whom it was a lifestyle--like if you did AP, you also automatically did no vax, no circ, cloth diapers, all organic food, all wooden toys. For so many folks it seemed to be all or nothing.

Incidentally, at the first (and so far only) meeting I went to of the secular, inclusive hs group in my area, all the classical homeschoolers sat together on one side of the room and all the unschoolers sat together on the other side. When I expressed relief at finding the group and dismay over how many curricula I was finding with a creationist point of view, the group coordinator leaned in and interrupted, "I just want to let you all know that we accept people with ALL different beliefs in this group." Later, she told me, "I hope I didn't make you feel bad (she did) but you should have seen the looks on people's faces!"

I'm still not sure whether I should go back. I'm sure there are some fun, non-religious people there. DH was there and he thought it was weird too. But they're the only secular group around here. Maybe I should try the group in the actual city of Seattle......

dbmamaz
02-25-2011, 10:17 PM
Yeah, some places 'secular' means 'all kinds of christains welcome', you gotta be careful and find out exactly what their self-definition is.

I cant stop myself, i havent vented about radical unschoolers in a while but . . . there's a big wide world between making your kids sit in a desk 5 hours a day doing worksheets, and letting them choose what to eat and when to sleep and when to learn to read by themselves . . . . argggg

(oh, and full disclosure, I was an ap cosleep, breastfeed on demand for 3 years, nocirc, baby wearing . . . but i gave up on the cloth diapers after I left the commune and their laundry system, i gave up quickly on the wooden toys cuz the kids didnt like them and they cost an arm and a leg, and i didnt start eating organic foods until I went on this food allergy kick - cuz pesticides werent on my safe food list . . . sigh)

Stella M
02-26-2011, 08:54 AM
I am exercising great restraint and staying away from this thread - well, I was till now - for fear of ranting :)

Pefa
02-26-2011, 09:09 AM
oh but Melissa you rant so eloquently...

Any group - of any religious/political/educational affiliation - that doesn't allow for a system created by humans to be changed by humans isn't my cup of tea. Any group that insists that their beliefs are my reality is asking for trouble. Every family has their variation on the dance of life; get over yourselves and allow us all to dance our own way together.

hockeymom
02-26-2011, 12:28 PM
Nicely said, Pefa! :)

dbmamaz
02-26-2011, 12:40 PM
Nicely said, Pefa! :)
yeah, that!

alexdk
02-26-2011, 01:27 PM
Every family has their variation on the dance of life; get over yourselves and allow us all to dance our own way together.

OHHHHHH!!! I LOVE THAT...This might end up on my FB status, hope you won't mind ;)
It's exactly how I feel. I also agree with "any group that insists that their beliefs are my reality is asking for trouble". There are many groups around (most of the time Christian ones) that ask their members to sign a paper saying they are a particular faith and will support those ideas/beliefs with the group.

Batgirl
02-26-2011, 01:35 PM
Yeah, Cara, that was definitely my bad. Yup, I nursed one for 3 1/2 years and one for 2 1/2. We didn't circ. I did cloth diapers but only because there was a good local service available. Same as you on the wooden toy, organic food issue. Organic also because I managed to find a relatively cheap, local source and commit to cooking from scratch (which is no small time commitment, as you know.)

And well put, Pefa!

Stella M
02-26-2011, 06:01 PM
Ah Pefa, but now I have learnt an important lesson, which is that if one exercises self-restraint, others will come along and do the ranting for you in a most poetic way :)

In Australia, unschooling is called 'natural learning', if that helps Batgirl any in her Googling! It embraces the same range of attitudes, from gentle to militant. Beverley Paine runs a very informative site - h/s in general but she is coming from a natural learning background - I think her site is called HomeschoolAustralia. It would probably have links/articles on the gentler end of the unschooling spectrum.

Kylie
02-26-2011, 06:30 PM
I too am very interested in the whole unschooling approach but reading a couple of those sites (pages and pages of old forum posts) in alot of ways made be feel like a bad bad bad mother and I know that is not what they are trying to do but many a times they have come across very 'high and mighty' and that doesn't sit well with me. You do it this way or you are doing it wrong, like when do one or two people have the answers for everything that goes on in MY home?!

Kind of reminded me of some of the AP people I know (no disrespect as I can tick all of the AP boxes too) but very 'this is the way and if you deviate from it you are just a bad parent'!!...meanwhile their kids are throwing rocks at my car and no one is saying a word to them because children will grow and learn from life's consequences..go figure on that one ;-)

dbmamaz
02-26-2011, 07:49 PM
meanwhile their kids are throwing rocks at my car and no one is saying a word to them because children will grow and learn from life's consequences..go figure on that one ;-)
LOL this reminds me of some ppl talking about some kids who went to an alternative school in charlottesville - they said someone asked some of them to help set up some chairs for an event . . . they refused, saying 'you cant tell me what to do' . . . ok, thats just rude .. .

Wilma
03-06-2011, 08:05 PM
I love, love, love the idea of unschooling. However, I also go with a lot of "old timer" definitions which includes using curriculum if my kids want to. My youngest, for example, my youngest is showing more and more interest in boxed curriculum; she just likes the routine. If that what she wants, she should do it. But texts are taboo for many unschoolers.

I read a post on a local unschooling loop from a woman who said she lets her kids eat whatever they want and they will eventually learn good habits through natural consequences. I, however, think years of obesity and rotting teeth is carrying natural consequences too far. And, sorry to the radicals, my kids live in the house and are expected to participate in its upkeep.

Like Pat Farenga's stuff though. Doesn't he also do funschooling.com?

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
03-09-2011, 08:49 PM
Wow reading those forums turned me right around from the unschooled method. I read it and thought why are these parents doing this do they not care about their child's education. So we stuck with the books. Despite all attempts to go the book route I was in for a reality check with my 6 year old. She was completely not having it. It was a daily fight to get her to 'school' every day. It was not until we took a break, (Mostly for my sanity) that she actually started to learn. She got on the computer and we found this site, jumpstart.com and she actually wanted to learn. So we went from there. It has been almost a year and my daughter has learned so much from both on line sites. (we use 2 now) 1 daily activity and free the rest of the day to do as she wants. It has been wonderful. we have taken apart our classroom and have spread things all around our home. She and her little sister are free to learn anything they want to by their own desire. I have found that we are more towards the unschooled method than any other.

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
03-09-2011, 08:53 PM
oh sorry I have many rules in our home. My girls are 4 and 6 and they have chores they do daily. they have to eat a balanced diet and take baths, brush their teeth and hair a few times a day.
Yes there are people that take this to that extreme but we are not one of them.

Batgirl
03-09-2011, 11:20 PM
Yeah, maybe the key is to just not read the forums. Maybe take the method and make it your own without worrying about what other people are thinking/doing in the name of unschooling. After reading people's responses I've decided not to try the forums. I just don't think I want to know.

dbmamaz
03-10-2011, 12:35 AM
I have to say, the most radical unschooler I've run in to (on line) eventually wrote about her childhood - which was extremely abusive. I think at one point she was, at age 13, selling drugs for her step mother? It was a serious horror story. so i could totally see her responding to her upbringing by wanting to go overboard in letting her children have and do exactly what they want, and their mom do nothing but care for them. It made me MORE sympathetic towards her choice of unparenting, in my mind, but also more accepting of me not wanting to go there.

I like to think of our style as collaborative. We work together to keep moving forward. Sometimes I push, sometimes I let them direct more. I work hard not to make them hate what they are doing, but i dont always succeed at that . . . and i'm still in charge.

Kylie
03-10-2011, 02:13 AM
Wow reading those forums turned me right around from the unschooled method. I read it and thought why are these parents doing this do they not care about their child's education. So we stuck with the books. Despite all attempts to go the book route I was in for a reality check with my 6 year old. She was completely not having it. It was a daily fight to get her to 'school' every day. It was not until we took a break, (Mostly for my sanity) that she actually started to learn. She got on the computer and we found this site, jumpstart.com and she actually wanted to learn. So we went from there. It has been almost a year and my daughter has learned so much from both on line sites. (we use 2 now) 1 daily activity and free the rest of the day to do as she wants. It has been wonderful. we have taken apart our classroom and have spread things all around our home. She and her little sister are free to learn anything they want to by their own desire. I have found that we are more towards the unschooled method than any other.My kids would love that....if I could allow myself to go there (walking into her embarrassed, ashamed corner here)

Kylie
03-10-2011, 02:16 AM
I work hard not to make them hate what they are doing, but i dont always succeed at that . . . and i'm still in charge.
And this where I fear I am failing, ds is not enjoying school at all at the moment. He does his work with little fuss, but that is simply because he is fairly easy going. He doesn't enjoy it though :-( now I'm off to have a cry ........

Green Vixen
03-13-2011, 06:35 PM
Hi, I'm looking to find out a little more about unschooling. I've read John Gatto, Alfie Kohn, and should probably tackle some John Holt. I'm also looking through the Unschooling Handbook. Does anyone have any other reading suggestions or know of any forums particularly amenable to questions or thoughtful discussions on this topic?

Thanks!

Hi Batgirl,

I don't have any suggestions on resources but I wanted to chime in because I was unschooled from mid 1st grade through 8th grade. It was a wonderful experience and I would be happy to answer any questions you have!

I am 33 now so as you can imagine "unschooling" was unheard of back when I was in 1st grade. All of our fellow homeschoolers were homeschooling for religious reasons so we were definitely the oddballs :-) My parents pulled me out of 1st grade because of health problems and really just let me follow my own interests and passions. My brother and I played in the forest, read, went to the library, took art classes, played the piano, violin and I was an avid ballerina.

When I was in 8th grade I decided I wanted to go to school and find out what it was like. It was an easy transition because in our city, high school consisted of 9th-12th grade. So several jr highs converged into the high school allowing me to blend into the mix. Academically and socially I did very well, but health wise I struggled. I had to miss 11th grade, but jumped back in for 12th and graduated with my class. I went on to college and am almost finished with my masters degree.

I definitely lean towards unschooling myself but will probably add in a little more science to my children's education. It just wasn't an interest of mine when I was younger so I didn't pursue it. I am also curious how unschooling ideals with work with my three children, they all have very different personalities.

As a side note, I am from Spokane originally and my husband is from Tacoma. My husband is active duty military so we are stationed in Alaska right now but want to go back to Spokane. What area are you in?

Take care!

Marisa

Stella M
03-13-2011, 06:59 PM
My friend has a very lovely unschooling blog for anyone who is interested in a peek into how it works in their family day to day.
http://respectlovelearning.blogspot.com

hockeymom
03-14-2011, 06:59 AM
Melissa, your friend has an amazing blog! I am forever working on finding the balance between my own interest in unschooling (or sort of...) and my son's need for structure, and the posts I was able to read this morning brought me such peace. I can't wait to explore it further. Thanks for posting it! :)

Stella M
03-14-2011, 07:13 AM
You're welcome :) Glad you enjoyed it; don't know why I didn't post the link earlier!

Outofrange
03-15-2011, 12:44 AM
I live in a town with many radical unschoolers (Sandra Dodd lives not to far away). Our family rhythm is one of loose structure so we dont really fit in with that group. We have a bed time and household rules. I want my children to work towards goals and will lovingly push them to achieve their goals. I do love the traditional life learning philosophy however. I find this magazine http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/index.htm to be very inspiring. If I had to label our family I would say we are relaxed homeschoolers.

dbmamaz
03-15-2011, 11:52 AM
Relaxed ecclectic is what I call us. But we are pretty scheduled.

farrarwilliams
03-15-2011, 12:33 PM
Sometimes the schedule is what lets us be relaxed, if that makes any sense to the unscheduled among us. ;)

Stella M
03-15-2011, 06:18 PM
Oh goody, I have a new description for our homeschooling style - relaxed-through-schedule, eclectic, Charlotte Mason inspired- secular. :)

dbmamaz
03-15-2011, 06:28 PM
relaxed-through-schedule, eclectic, Charlotte Mason inspired- secular. :)
LOL sounds concise . .. :-)

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-15-2011, 07:08 PM
Oh goody, I have a new description for our homeschooling style - relaxed-through-schedule, eclectic, Charlotte Mason inspired- secular. :)

That sounds like us, too. But only other homeschoolers will know what the heck we mean! :)

Kylie
03-17-2011, 03:24 AM
Nothing like a simple word to describe your homeschool hey!

Pefa
03-17-2011, 12:48 PM
Hi Batgirl,

I definitely lean towards unschooling myself but will probably add in a little more science to my children's education. It just wasn't an interest of mine when I was younger so I didn't pursue it. I am also curious how unschooling ideals with work with my three children, they all have very different personalities....

Take care!

Marisa

Thanks. I realize that when I think about it, I'm more upset by un-parenters than un-schoolers. You're a great example of how well unschooling can work.

Batgirl
03-21-2011, 11:32 AM
:D Thanks, everyone!

Ariadne
03-21-2011, 04:56 PM
I find it a bit ironic, though, that a group that seems to shun rules has SO MANY rules for what constitutes unschooling!Isn't that the truth! It seems to be the way of things, though. In the beginning of any great idea, it's flexible and people can use it however it works for them. But then certain personalities seem to take over and want to *define* things, which means rules.


Any group that insists that their beliefs are my reality is asking for trouble.Endorse.


In Australia, unschooling is called 'natural learning', I like this term far better.

Lou
03-23-2011, 12:10 AM
my cousin's unschool and I see the fruit of their unlabor ;) but for me, I know myself it would be too hard to 'wait' for my child to do something if they were to not interested and it was well past a decent time frame. (example: if one child is reading at age 5 and the other is still not showing any interest at age 12)

I figured I was a classical method type when I took the quiz in Cathy Duffy's book and found out 'classical' method was far down the list of styles as a fit for myself and unschooling was #3!

I think I can buy into some of the unschooling methods, but I would be one of those that pulls what I like and disregards what doesn't suit me...waiting for my 12 year to show an interest in reading would be WAY TOO HARD for me as a parent educator...I'd find myself playing subconscience phonics CD's to my children while they slept! LOL

dbmamaz
03-23-2011, 12:32 AM
Honestly i think thats part of why the radical unschoolers are so defensive and insular . . . it IS really hard to believe in what you are doing when your 12 yo doesnt read, but they believe in it on a theoretical level, and try to avoid anything that brings up that fear.

But its still not for me.

albeto
03-23-2011, 12:51 AM
*taking a deep breath*

This thread was one of the reasons I wanted to join this forum. I'm finding, quite accidentally, that learning without a formal curriculum is by far the best thing going for my kids. I'm amazed at what they are learning when they're interested in knowing something as opposed to learning it when it works within a convenient curricula schedule. I'm also pretty happily surprised with how wide the range of knowledge is in any given subject. My youngest son really likes mechanical engineering. Not only is he learning the academic subject, but he's learning physics, language arts, math and social skills. This is an 11 year old kid who doesn't think it's weird to call customer service because he's not sure why his Lego NXT robot thing isn't working. So, working it out with the customer service rep, he's on his way. I think I was half way through college when I stopped feeling awkward talking with "real adults."

My daughter (13) is focused on other interests, mainly creative and artistic. She reads a lot and "notices" art and beauty all around her. She draws and plays piano and listens to the Beatles and because of that, my kids know a little about the Viet Nam War, not so much the history, but the intent behind both "sides" in America. They know that each side wanted what's best for the country and for world peace and how everyone thought their solutions were the best of all options. This sets up the point of any war or conflict - the rest is details. Details can be learned as necessary or will be remembered if they are of interest. Most encouragingly, her anxiety has been replaced with confidence since coming home and experiencing success at things she likes to do.

I think confidence and the ability to solve problems is underrated and difficult to really identify in academic records, but taking a curriculum away has allowed me to really see these characteristics evolve and grow in my younger kids.

My oldest really turned us on to unschooling when he refused to do any school work (he has Asperger's and a plethora of other diagnoses). While I thought he was playing MarioKart on his Nintendo DS, he had been learning how to modify the game program, making Mario rainbow colored or jumping to the moon. This eventually transfered to learning how to navigate his kindle and eventually sabotaging our computer in a most frustrating but clever way.

We're new to this, and it's been quite by accident so I can't say anything about it from the pov of younger children, but I do know my kids learned a lot about life before they ever stepped into a classroom, simply by observing the world around them and learning cause and effect. From what I understand of the philosophy of unschooling, the idea is the same and doesn't change because a child celebrates a fifth birthday.

I enjoyed the links shared earlier. Thanks for that.

Lou
03-23-2011, 02:15 PM
I think confidence and the ability to solve problems is underrated and difficult to really identify in academic records, but taking a curriculum away has allowed me to really see these characteristics evolve and grow in my younger kids.

I take this aspect of unschooling and run with it in the afternoons and on days where our curriculum guide isn't working for us. FOR ME: I like having something telling me what to do and how (not so much WHEN), but I feel child led 'educational moments' are far more important and on days where it's looking like a battle or power struggle on the way, it's off on a child led adventure for us. Forcing a lesson when it's not an open door to my children's mind just doesn't make sense for me...but if they are willing to do the lessons I provide at the time I provide them, great IMHO! :)

obimomkenobi
03-29-2011, 09:39 PM
Honestly, reading discussions on unschooling groups was one of the main things that turned me off it, so proceed with caution.

Wow, isn't that the truth. I can't believe how vicious some of the unschooler groups/sites are to new unschoolers. I turned and bolted for several years because of that type of behavior. One of my favorite unschooling blogs - and one that can also make me feel completely inadequate as a parent - is Amy Bradstreet's On Bradstreet (http://onbradstreet.blogspot.com/). It's absolutely LUSH and lovely and wonderful. Next time around, I'm going to be one of her kids!

Another very newbie friendly website is Theresa Lode's The Mother Lode (http://themotherlode.wordpress.com/). She's no holds barred trust your kids, but don't expect to like them all the time (or they you).

Stella M
03-30-2011, 02:41 AM
I'm pretty sure unschoolers aren't always feeling happy and inspired! That isn't humanly possible. I bet they have days/weeks/months of fallow time, where their passions and interests lose appeal and they are bored. Maybe even not enjoying being unschooled...

I like Melissa Wiley's tidal learning idea - that we naturally move between structure and freedom and back again.

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
03-30-2011, 06:30 AM
I guess this is why I have placed areas in our home for our children to go to to learn. I do not allow them to have the TV on and I encourage them to get busy. I would not honestly allow my child to get to age 12 and not be able to read. I also guess this is why we have set aside a daily meeting time. That way even if they do nothing else all day but play I at least know they did something. And to be totally honest there are days that they do nothing else in any of the areas in our home and others that they go from one thing to the next all day long. I guess it goes in cycles and depends on what else we have planned that day.

maggieorganizingchaos
03-30-2011, 12:37 PM
I am very new to homeschooling. I have read a little about unschooling and a lot about early childhood development. I attachment parent from a number of perspectives. Given my ds is only 3, I'm at a very easy point. I am also 46 and helped raised 2 step daughters for 12+ years, so that has given me some perspective about how I want to approach things with my son. I've decided for now a loose structure - more of an unschooling approach - works best for his early development. But, I do plan to enlist elements of curric once he is ready to start formal age schooling. I prefer an unrushed approach for now, letting him lead. This week it has been a fascination with ancient mummies. Last week it was caves. We didn't have time to explore caves much because I had a (tsk) client job. But this week, we've investigated mummies and ancient Egypt and Greco-Roman discoveries and wonders extensively. I know the time is coming when we will need a more effecient routine, but this is what works for us right now. He knows all his shapes, including more complex ones like hexagons, his colors, and he is picking up more and more of the alphabet and numbers. He also enjoys matching and I spy activities. He tells stories and describes imaginary environments. I expect this is pretty good for his age and thus feel confident that this approach is allowing him to unfold creatively at his own pace while clearly learning what he should. Hoping this approach gives him a good foundation for expanding his own love of learning as time goes by. I think unschooling is great for different aspects of homeschooling at different times of development. I hope to keep our approach open to unschooling a substantial percentage. We are pretty relaxed about everything when it comes to training. At 43 months, ds is still in diapers and still breastfeeding and cosleeping. This time is so short that I hope not to rush it. Hope my thoughts help, even though I haven't formally started any home schooling process as of now.

TamaraNC
03-30-2011, 06:11 PM
During the course of this thread (and, in part, because of it), I've gone from solidly classical to solidly eclectic, with a nice natural learning component (I never did like the term "unschooling.").

We do the 3Rs in the morning, including Latin, but afternoons are come-what-may. Today, we read some of The Jungle Book together and now they're building a fort in their bedroom. Yesterday we made a pirate map of the NC coastline, looked up "How did Indians take baths? And how did they carry the water, anyway?", and found out how mountains were formed.

We have a whiteboard in our dining room, where we do our morning work, and whenever they have a question, they scribble it down on the side so we don't forget. My youngest doesn't write full words yet, so he draws a picture of the thing. Such fun, and they're retaining a lot of what we find out.

Batgirl
04-01-2011, 02:16 AM
Wow, isn't that the truth. I can't believe how vicious some of the unschooler groups/sites are to new unschoolers. I turned and bolted for several years because of that type of behavior. One of my favorite unschooling blogs - and one that can also make me feel completely inadequate as a parent - is Amy Bradstreet's On Bradstreet (http://onbradstreet.blogspot.com/). It's absolutely LUSH and lovely and wonderful. Next time around, I'm going to be one of her kids!

Another very newbie friendly website is Theresa Lode's The Mother Lode (http://themotherlode.wordpress.com/). She's no holds barred trust your kids, but don't expect to like them all the time (or they you).

Thanks for the links, ObiMom! Those are great!

obimomkenobi
04-01-2011, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the links, ObiMom! Those are great!

I'm glad you liked them, too.

sarahb1976
04-02-2011, 09:46 PM
http://applestars.homeschooljournal.net/the-collaborative-learning-process/

I really like this blog about learning without school.

maggieorganizingchaos
04-04-2011, 12:58 AM
Your first sentence has motivated me to do two things:

1) I have organized a cupboard of materials that are play, create, and practice oriented for my 3-year old. Right now, we are only doing such activities every other day - on average 3 days per week. But, that's because I have been busy working, and now spring cleaning/organizing. I am sure this cupboard will grow to bookshelves and eventually a furnished space for learning activities. Still, we can end up on any given day with a hallway, dining table, or living room floor filled with the day's creations. 2) I plan to create a space for me, too. One where I can meditate, do pilates or yoga, drink my coffee, read... what I really like is what I read about recently - about creating a nest (was it in Mothering magazine?) as a retreat for anyone in the family.

While balance is key for me and our family harmony, I don't mind the label unschooling. I think it is whatever we make of it. I spent much of my younger life trying to escape labels. Seems now I can't put enough on (homeschooler, extended breastfeeder, SAHM, WAHM, cosleeper, green enthusiast, etc.).

turtlemama
04-04-2011, 02:20 AM
Such a great thread!

I started out when my first son was a baby/toddler knowing we'd for sure homeschool and when I learned of unschooling (I don't like that word either), that felt so right and seemed like an extension of what babies and toddlers are already doing! Then I found out about radical unschooling, and while I wanted to 'go there', I just couldn't. It just didn't feel right to me, for many of the reasons others have mentioned here.

Now that he is 7, I'm finding myself craving more structure! We are doing phonics/reading work together nearly every day, we just started RightStart math (which he loves, he has always enjoyed math) and I am considering a curriculum to give us some lose structure. (I'm going to give Oak Meadow a try). I don't see us every having 'school time' each day at the same time, but I do really enjoy have some structure and some sort of guide when exploring new things. When my son resists strongly (with tears, which is what happened last week when I was going over the order and names of the days of the week), I back off and trust that he'll be ready for that info at a later time.

So, I feel like we sort of waver back and forth from Natural Learning (unschooling) and relaxed-structured homeschooling. It's an interesting balance, for sure.

maggieorganizingchaos
04-04-2011, 04:13 PM
I can see the same thing happening here, Turtlemama - I was thinking about Oak Meadow, too. But, I finally took the pressure off myself as far as Preschool is concerned. I was getting family comments, mainly, which really shouldn't surprise me. First, I felt confident letting preschool go until 4 or 5. Now, I feel OK letting it go altogether and focusing on formal curric around age 7 or 8. See how it goes. I am so highly structured - it is the essence of my control over the chaos afterall, that I really relish a kid that can avoid the kind of experiences I had in (ugh) parochial school ("but it is SUCH a good education!"). I never went to preschool. There was no such thing back then. Here is an encouraging link:
http://www.slate.com/id/2288402

PaganHSMama
04-06-2011, 08:54 AM
I'm finding, quite accidentally, that learning without a formal curriculum is by far the best thing going for my kids. I'm amazed at what they are learning when they're interested in knowing something as opposed to learning it when it works within a convenient curricula schedule. I'm also pretty happily surprised with how wide the range of knowledge is in any given subject.

I think confidence and the ability to solve problems is underrated and difficult to really identify in academic records, but taking a curriculum away has allowed me to really see these characteristics evolve and grow in my younger kids.



I agree with this 100%! The unschooling for us was also accidental. I started out making a schedule and putting curriculum together, etc. until I realized that DD just wasn't interested most of the time. For a while, I tried to force it, thinking that there are just some things she NEEDS to do every day for homeschooling to be successful. But, of course, that just led to power struggles and an unhappy little girl and I ended up hating myself for doing that to her. So, I "let go" and I have been amazed at how much she has grown and learned. She does a lot of educational computer activities (we subscribe to Verizon Games on Demand and they have a great collection) and she loves art. She reads every day, on her own, and can read just about anything (even Harry Potter). She does have her moments when she wants to "do homework" and that is where the workbooks come in. But, mostly, she is running the show and it works.

albeto
04-06-2011, 01:47 PM
For a while, I tried to force it, thinking that there are just some things she NEEDS to do every day for homeschooling to be successful. But, of course, that just led to power struggles and an unhappy little girl and I ended up hating myself for doing that to her.

My dd is generally very compliant. She would do the work. Kinda. She would find something else that needed to get done, she would be confused and sit patiently while I tried to explain a thousand different ways, she would do her best but her heart wasn't in it at. all. Yesterday I saw a little envelope she made for her grammar cards last fall.

C - crummy
A - awful
R - really stupid
D - deadly boring
S - sleeping

She did her work but her head wasn't in the game and nothing stuck. I had no idea how much she hated it, but being a "good girl," she did what she was told. Yikes...I don't want to raise a child who is to shy to be assertive.